Husband and wife team Audrey Khaing-Jones and Dean Jones were fashion novices when they started their online business GlamCorner. Yet that didn’t prevent the couple from rewriting the rule book on how to build a successful fashion business.
It was co-founder Audrey Khaing-Jones’ real-life dilemma of having nothing to wear to an important event that first prompted her to look into the option of a designer clothing rental service. After hitting Google in search of a local version of popular US offering, ‘Rent the Runway’, Khaing-Jones realised there was a gap in the market…
After pondering the question, ‘why isn’t anyone offering a designer fashion rental service in Australia?’ Khaing-Jones and husband Dean decided to take the plunge and start their own service, and in 2012 GlamCorner was born.
Initially bankrolling it with $20k of their own funds, today GlamCorner is a multi-million-dollar business with a raft of high profile investors including Sass & Bide co-founder Sarah-Jane Clarke. As one of the initiators of the fashion rental business in Australia, creating brand presence was integral to GlamCorner’s success. But with no storefront on which to hang their hat, the brand needed to adopt a different tactic to maintain their presence both on and offline.
Realising social media drives brand recognition, the couple adopted a marketing strategy that reached out to influencers with stunning results. Just google ‘GlamCorner unboxing’ and you will discover 1000s of YouTube videos of fashionistas dedicated to the brand, unboxing their latest rental. Indeed GlamCorner packages are instantly recognisable, beautifully wrapped, feature personalised notes and encourage the end-user to ’gram their unboxing for a discount on future rentals.
Jones says the ethos behind their personalised packaging was two-fold: to deliver their goods in great condition and create an amazing experience for their customers. Given that most customers come to GlamCorner in search of a dress for a special occasion, this makes perfect sense.
“Firstly, we want our items to arrive in amazing condition and be ready to wear,” Jones explains. “So, in order to feel as though you’re receiving your very own special gift delivery every time you place an order with us, we had to design a capsule/box that was sturdy enough and nice-looking enough to consistently deliver this experience to every customer no matter where she lived and no matter how rough the journey was on the way,”.
GlamCorner was equally concerned with the impact their packaging would have on the environment. “Everything that is delivered to you is recyclable, including the dress!” Jones exclaims.
A recent study suggests 40 percent of consumers would share images of custom packaging if they thought it was aesthetically pleasing – and this is certainly true of GlamCorner.
“Judging by how many customers post mini unboxing clips and tag us on their Instagram and Snapchat Stories, I’d say our packaging is pretty ‘grammable’” Jones admits.
Jones tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB) all the packaging team are rigorously trained to ensure a wonderful customer unpacking experience.
“When they seal a box for dispatch they know they are the last ones to see what’s inside before our customers do. So, they take extra care to ensure everything inside is perfect and ready to be posted to social media when it arrives.”
Jones says custom branded packaging plays a big role in keeping the GlamCorner brand alive offline.
“As a purely online business that is delivering products that were manufactured by designer labels, the physical box our orders are delivered in are the only physical vehicle that allows our customers to ‘touch and feel’ our brand,” says Jones.
“From cardboard quality to hand-written notes, we see our packaging as a way to build a connection with our customers. And our return satchel that they can simply place their items into when they’re done and pop it into their nearest post box adds a layer of continuity to that relationship.”
Jones suggests any business that sends parcels for delivery should consider a personalised branding option.
“My advice would definitely be to do it as it gives you another opportunity to build rapport with your customers and a point of differentiation to anybody selling something similar to you.”
However, Jones stresses it’s important to be practical.
“Keep in mind that your packaging is a variable cost and will scale up along with your business volumes. So, you don’t want to bake in a particularly high per unit cost from overly-extravagant packaging that will be hard to manage later on. It’s important to strike a balance here – and it’s not impossible to achieve both amazing quality packaging that delights your customers along with it being economical too.”
In the meantime, with Australian women throwing out a whopping 23kg of clothes a year and purchasing 27kg to boot, GlamCorner’s sharing model continues to make more and more financial sense.
“Women have been ‘sharing’ clothing for a long time – mainly with family and close friends,” Jones says. “So, we knew that if we built the biggest borrow-on-demand wardrobe in the country, then our customers could borrow from us whenever they liked!”